Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
BA SCORE
88%
Liked This Beer
4.14 w/ 7,514 ratings
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierranevada.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,503
Reviews:
3,063
Ratings:
7,514
Liked:
6,611
Avg:
4.14/5
pDev:
11.35%
Alströms:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
419
Gots:
1,833
Trade:
69
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,514 |  Reviews: 3,063
Photo of oldp0rt
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of jfcaa193
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of CoreyCramer
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of kradberg
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of EvanWilliams
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of dandmc24
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of jrohrbacher
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of savagepm
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of bpackertx
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of ridgeline23
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of ixodus
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Ish1
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of paxchristi
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of mhjets
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

01/23/12

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Disney thistle glass. Reviewed live in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California.

A: Pours a three finger head of nice cream and thickness, and great retention - especially for the high ABV. Colour is a caramel auburn. Nontransparent.

Sm: Quite malty, with some yeast and cream. The toasted malts are nice. Some moderately strong hop notes are present as well. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Actually quite hoppy. I'm surprised. Some toasted malt aids the foundation. It's simple and strange for the style - to its detriment. Boring and bland, but not without redeeming characteristics. Candied sugar fills out the body without adding much flavour. It's too sugary overall, actually.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick and heavy on the palate.

Dr: Decently drinkable. Okay for the style, but in major need of work. The hoppy approach just feels wrong. I wouldn't have it again. Another disappointment from Sierra Nevada.

I initially asserted this wouldn't age well in contrast to most other barleywines due to its reliance on the hoppy flavours, but GoodBeerFan2006 wrote in to let me know it does indeed age quite well. I hadn't considered that potential hop death/hop flavour demulsification would actually round out the balance better. It's a valid point; thanks GoodBeerFan2006! Consider cellaring it if you desire the best experience possible with this beer.

C+

---
12/10/12

I decided to revisit an aged version of this after questioning my initial (fresh review). 1995 vintage Bigfoot served into a New Belgium stem-goblet. Expectations are above average. Cost was ~$8.00 at a vintage bottle shop. Cap reads "Bigfoot Expedition 1995". Label is quaint and reminds me of craft beer history; so this is what Sierra Nevada looked like when Pearl Jam was popular.

Poured with substantial vigor because undercarbonation is anticipated.

A: Pours a weak tan floater. No head at all. Body colour is a dark brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy caramel, fermented dark fruit including plum and fig, oxidation notes, malty sweetness, and dominant raisin. Not as musty as expected, but it certainly isn't fresh. No hops are detectable in the aroma. An assertive, moderate strength aroma. Not a particularly appealing one either.

T: Raisin, caramel, dates, plum, and malty sweetness on the finish. Oxidation notes ruin the balance and distract. No hops whatsoever. Rich and surprisingly full-bodied. Lacks complexity or subtlety. Not a great flavour; it's definitely past its prime by a long shot. Still, it's not vinegary - quite an achievement at 17 years old.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and weak. Sugary. Cloying, even a bit astringent. Lacks good present. Age has taken its toll.

Dr: Hard to drink on account of its poor quality. Boy, I'm not going to enjoy finishing this glass. The ABV is decently hidden, but this beer has long passed prime. Maybe this would be better about 7 years younger.

D+

I might have overshot the whole aging bigfoot thing; fresh it seems was too young and 17 years was too old. I'll revisit at different vintages in-between as my budget allows. My current score reflects the fresh review.

---

02/20/13

Final revisit. 2008 vintage (25th expedition/anniversary). It's five years old; this should be peak. Review below will be truncated. 9.6%. Heard a crack upon opening; still carbonated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki head of nice cream/thickness and above average (~2 minute) retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a murky nontransparent opaque dark caramel. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Fruity and evocative. Rich appealing biscuity malts. No hops. The malts are quite refined; age has done this well. Port-like richness and sweetness. Caramel. Toffee. Bread. Candi sugar. Quite nice, actually. Maybe I've finally found what Bigfoot is cracked up to be. A pretty strong aroma. Right on the money for a barleywine.

T: Okay. Caramelized malts with a light port-like sweetness. Refined biscuit malts. No hoppy character or yeast. Definite fruitiness; perhaps over-fermented (think depleted) fig. Plum on the finish. Licorice. Raisin. It's sweeter than anticipated, with lots of malty sugars. Balanced but simple. This is definitely better than fresh or 17 year old Bigfoot, but it's still not great. Solid for a barleywine, if a bit underwhelming.

Mf: Good coarseness. Wet. Good carbonation. Suits the flavour well.

Dr: I do like this. 3-5 years definitely seems to be the sweet spot for Bigfoot, but I'll give up the ghost after this review. I kept wanting it to be as good as I'd heard it was, but it just isn't. Bigfoot just isn't a great barleywine, but you can't say I didn't try. I'd try it again at three years, but I've lost hope that this will satisfy the hype. My current review reflects the score I gave it fresh.

High B-

 4,935 characters

Photo of vandemonian
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine is an excellent barleywine that emphasises caramel and dried fruit flavours. Very nice.

A: Orange brown colour and a 1 cm head that lasts really well. 4.5

S: Strong roasted malt aroma with some hints of dried citrus fruit. 4.5

T: Malty with burned brown sugar. There are some hints of yeast autolysis. There are some dried fruit flavours too. The alcohol is noticable. 4

M: Foamy. 4.5

O: 4

 428 characters

Photo of zest4itall
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of TheRealDBCooper
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of nicholas527
3/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of willbrown
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of hopsandstouts
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of xavier390
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of muletrane
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88% out of 100 with 7,514 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.